Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties: Faith Hill, “This Kiss”

“This Kiss”

Faith Hill

Written by Beth Nielsen Chapman, Robin Lerner, and Annie Roboff


#1 (3 weeks)

May 16 – May 30, 1998

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

May 15, 1998

Faith Hill returns with the most deliriously catchy crossover hit of the decade.

The Road to No. 1

After going to No. 1 with the title track from It Matters to Me, that set produced three additional top ten hit singles: “Someone Else’s Dream,” “You Can’t Lose Me,” and “I Can’t Do That Anymore.” It is still her only album to date to produce five top ten country singles.  However, her sales potency continued to escalate with her next two albums, starting with 1998’s Faith, which put her on the pop music radar for the first time with its lead single, “This Kiss.”

The No.1

Yes, it was overplayed to death.

Yes, it committed the cardinal sin of being remixed for pop radio.

Yes, it dominated the awards circuit for so long that its victory at the 1999 CMA Awards for Song of the Year felt anachronistic.

But the reasons for all of the above come down to one thing: “This Kiss” is a deliriously catchy record, delivered with euphoria by a singer that radiated joy with every note she sang.

It’s also wickedly smart, using “centrifugal motion” in its chorus, which was the most surprising term to surface in a No. 1 country single since Mary Chapin Carpenter dropped “benign” in the chorus of “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” four years earlier.

Even today, in spite of its overfamiliarity, it’s still a burst of sunshine that you’re going to sing along with in your head, with or without your consent.

She’ll have even bigger crossover hits down the road, but good as some of them are, they pale in comparison to this delicious slice of hook-laden pop-country.

(And let’s take a moment to put some respect on Robin Lerner’s name: she co-wrote “Out of My Bones” and “This Kiss,” two back-to-back No. 1 hits that couldn’t have been more different stylistically, but were fresh and rejuvenating sounds for established artists.)

The Road From No. 1

After “It’s Your Love” and “This Kiss,” Faith Hill had two more consecutive No. 1 hits.  We’ll cover both of them in 1998.

“This Kiss” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

Previous: Randy Travis, “Out of My Bones” |

Next: Steve Wariner, “Holes in the Floor of Heaven”


  1. I remember being rather shocked during the 1998 CMA Awards that Faith didn’t win Female Vocalist of the Year. I absolutely love Trisha, but I had thought for sure Faith had it in the bag. I had wondered if the crossover play hurt her, but she was dominating all the other awards. Shows just how strong the competition was in the FVOTY category throughout the 90s.

    • The CMA/ACM split for Faith Hill was pretty dramatic. She won the ACM in 1999, 2000, and 2001, but the CMA in 2000 only, with them choosing Martina McBride in 1999 and Lee Ann Womack in 2001. I was more surprised by the 1999 McBride win than Yearwood repeating in 1998, though any woman repeating at all in the nineties was exceedingly rare. As generous as the shows were at spreading out the awards, some major female artists like Shania Twain and Lorrie Morgan never managed to win.

      • I think the Yearwood surprise was two parts for me. Faith was dominating at the time, but Trisha had been neglected by the award circuit for 7 years. After 1997 I had assumed she’d go back to being neglected. Turns out it was after 1998 that she went back to being neglected.

          • Apart from whatever shenanigans get played when it comes to the Grammy Aawards in general, and how Music City relates to them in particular, my theories as to why Trisha so routinely got The Shaft boil down to three:

            (1): All (or most) of Trisha’s nominations have been in the Country category, where there would always be an enormous amount of competition.

            (2): Trisha has only had one sizeable crossover hit to date (“How Do I Live?”, which got to #23 in the summer of 1997), whereas Faith and Shania have had several large ones (and need we mention what Linda Ronstadt pulled off in terms of “pop/country” crossover in the 1970’s?)

            (3): Trisha arguably didn’t get hyped-up by MCA-Nashville in the day like the other record labels hyped up their female artistss (Faith with Warners; Shania with Mercury; or, more recently, Taylor Swift vis-a-vis Big Mahcine).

            As for Faith Hill–I continue to be very ambivalent about her, and that probably won’t ever change. “Breathe” is very tolerable, but I still have what can be called a Pavlovian reaction to her version of “Piece Of My Heart”, even if that was twenty-nine years ago.

  2. I often wondered if MCA or Kragen were worried about overexposing her and didn’t push as hard at award shows for her. I don’t really have a good explanation other than she avoided some of the gimmicks of the industry due to her integrity and that lead to folks taking her talent and work for granted.

  3. Man these songs are slamming the nostalgia button for me. I these songs made 5 year old me fall in love with the genre.

  4. This song is definitely a rush of late 90’s nostalgia for me. It just takes me back to great times, overall, and I’m still NOT tired of hearing it despite it being played to death!

    This just makes me, once again, miss the times when pop country could be fun, catchy, AND lyrically smart and creative at the same time. I’ll also personally take this late 90’s soft rock sound over the drum machine and synthesizer dominated sounds of today any day. And despite the obvious crossover appeal of the record, Sonny Garrish’s steel still comes through loud and clear, and it brings even more of a sunny feel to what’s already a joyful record. Most of all though, I love Faith’s enthusiastic performance, and the elegant way she sings the “bigger” words in the chorus. She sounds like she had the most fun she ever had when recording this one! I even love the little “ahhh” she does in the chorus, which I always thought was cute.

    I noticed right away that “This Kiss” was definitely different from anything else I’d previously heard from Faith Hill the first few times I heard it. It wasn’t long though before I fell in love with the song’s insanely catchy melody, and its overall joyful feel, especially in Faith’s vocals. However, my mom and step dad were not as impressed, and they HATED this song. It would often get changed to another station if it ever came on while we were in the car, and they would even complain about it when they heard it playing in a restaurant. Since it remained such a popular recurrent for the rest of the 90’s and into the early 00’s, it plagued them for pretty much that entire period, lol. “This Kiss” was one of those songs in the late 90’s I ended up having to secretly like except for when I was in Dad’s car. He also liked the song, and he was always more open to pop influenced country and different styles than even myself at that time, usually.

    Some of those first few times I heard “This Kiss” was on Chris Charles’ Weekly Country Countdown show in early 1998, and I’m actually very fortunate have a copy of the show that originally aired the last week of February in which “This Kiss” debuts at #30. :) Listening that show again, it was such a cool experience to be hearing a future all time classic that started the next chapter of Faith’s career making its first appearance on the countdown.

    “This Kiss” also gets cool points from me for being featured in one of my personal favorite movies from 1998, Practical Magic (starring Sandra Bullock and Nichole Kidman). :)

    I also adore the iconic creative video for this song, and Faith is absolutely gorgeous in it! I love the shorter haircut she had during this time and the cute and classy outfits she had on here. Just seeing this bright and colorful video featuring cute kids and a happy, joyfully smiling Faith Hill and hearing the song at the same time just fills me with so much joy and makes me long for this time period even more. As I mentioned in Shania’s “Love Gets Me Every Time,” man, I really miss this kind of pop country!

    Btw, I’m also really looking forward to the next single from the Faith album. And I love this pic of her and that single cover!

  5. An iconic pop-country song. Maybe the best of the decade. It is itself “unstoppable.”

    It ranks with “Islands in the Stream.” “9 to 5,” and “Rhinestone Cowboy” in my pantheon of pop country classics.

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